Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Siracusa and Ortygia

This past Sunday we took a trip to Siracusa and the island of Ortygia with our friends, David & Kathy. We had a blast! It was the perfect sightseeing day. Good company, good weather (for the most part) and no crowds! We weren't sure if it was the time of year or the threat of rain that kept everyone else home, but it was amazing.

Our first stop was the Basilica di San Giovanni. We had hoped to go to the catacombs there, but they were closed. Not much is left of the basilica, as you can see - just the outer walls. I was told it is the oldest Catholic church in Sicily. The catacombs are underneath what remains of the basilica.
Basilica di San Giovanni

Next, (after getting raviola & caffe') we visited the Santuario della Madonna Delle Lacrime. It was opened in 1994 and is by far the most modern church I've seen in Italy. We only stepped inside for a moment, mass was in progress so I only took a couple pictures of the exterior.

Santuario della Madonna Delle Lacrime

Our next stop was the Parco Archeologico della Neopolis. It is an archaeological park with all sorts of ruins. Very cool!

Teatro Greco

Cave with a waterfall behind the Teatro Greco

Orecchio di Dioniso (Ear of Dionysius)

Grotta dei Cordari (Rope-makers' Cave)

Necropoli dei Grotticelli (Hellenistic and Byzantine tombs)

Dandelions with the Anfiteatro Romano in the background

Anfiteatro Romano

After we explored the Parco Archeologico we headed to the island of Ortygia. It is connected by bridge to Siracusa. We parked near the ocean and climbed up to the top of the seawall. It was awesome to smell the ocean again. I've missed it.

View of the Ionion Sea and Siracusa from the Island of Ortygia

Tepio di Apollo

Fontana di Diana

As we were wandering around the inside of the Duomo I noticed several massive Doric columns. It was strange to see inside a Catholic cathedral. I pointed them out to my friend, and once we were outside we looked it up in her guidebook, and sure enough, those columns were the remains of a Greek Temple of Athena.

Duomo, built around the original 5th Century Greek Temple of Athena

After we saw the Duomo we found the Fontana Aretusa, a duck pond with an interesting mythological history, and nearby we visited the aquarium which had all sorts of fascinating fishies. We decided to head towards home after the aquarium. We ended the day with margaritas at the Applebees on base.

Once home, I resumed working on my final paper for class. I finished it Monday evening, and in doing so finished the first class in my MBA program! It was extremely challenging, but I'm looking forward to my next class, which luckily doesn't start for two more months. I will enjoy the break immensely.

Hopefully this next weekend we'll be out and about taking in more sights on this amazing island. Viva Sicilia!

1 comment:

Trav'ler Jenn said...

Absolutely beautiful. You shold seriously think about doing a pictoral travel book of Sicilia for us who want to come but don't know what to see!

Happy Love day!